The British Retail Consortium, which represents the retail industry, has called on the Government to freeze business rates as UK inflation rises to 3 percent, a five-year high.

The statement comes as figures released by the Office for National Statistics, the Consumer Prices Index hit 3 percent for September 2017, up from 2.9 percent in August, and was last higher in March 2012.

The British Retail Consortium states that without intervention from the Government that retailers and other firms could face a rise in business rates twice as large as last year, adding that this will hit retailers alone with an extra 270 million pounds in tax next April.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium chief executive, said: “The consequences of today’s RPI figures could be severe for many shops in a precarious position and struggling to survive. Consumers, already seeing household incomes eroded, will face further misery as the pound in their pocket buys them less at the checkout.

“For retailers, this will be compounded if UK Ministers fail to act and stem the hefty near four per cent rise in business rates, which is set to add an extra quarter of a billion pounds to retailers’ already unreasonable business rates burden.”

Dickinson added: “For many shops, this may be the last straw. Across the country, especially in economically deprived and vulnerable communities, the cost of failing to take action will likely be seen in yet more empty shops and gap-toothed high streets.”


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